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Fresenius Medical Care Foundation Announces Grant to United Network for Organ Sharing to Improve Organ Transportation, Tracking, and Logistics
$106,000 Grant Supports Work to Predict Organ Travel Time and Pilot Real-Time Tracking
WALTHAM, Mass. – Aug. 13, 2020 – The Fresenius Medical Care Foundation (the Foundation) announces a grant of $106,000 to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the nonprofit, mission-driven organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system, to help improve transportation and logistics for organ donation.
The donation from the Foundation, a separately operated 501(c)(3) nonprofit of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), will support innovative initiatives to better predict organ travel time and improve tracking using biosensor technology to ensure that fewer kidneys are discarded due to time outside the body.
The logistical improvements for organ donation supported by this grant include:
- Predicting Organ Travel Time: UNOS Labs, the experimental incubator that brings together data, technology, and industry expertise on projects to improve the transplant system, will use the funds to develop an application that organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and transplant centers can use to easily choose an optimal travel route for an organ.
- Understanding Cold Ischemic Time (CIT): Cold ischemic time (CIT) is the time that an organ spends outside the body between procurement and transplantation. The Foundation is supporting UNOS’s work to collect better data to provide a projection of total accumulated CIT before an organ is accepted.
- Organ Tracking: Finally, the grant will help UNOS pilot real-time tracking of organs shipped via ground and air. UNOS will provide critical asset trackers to pilot OPOs, while partner couriers will share in-house tracking data to work toward a centralized data warehouse of transportation information.
"We are excited to support UNOS’s efforts to streamline logistics and enable more individuals to receive an organ donation,” said Bill Valle, Chief Executive Officer of FMCNA and President of the Foundation. “The best option to give life back to a patient with kidney failure is through transplant, and these important initiatives will hopefully create more opportunities to successfully do so.”
Currently, there is no single national transportation system that can provide streamlined service moving donated organs to transplant hospitals. Each OPO and transplant center is responsible for obtaining its own transport solutions, creating a need for a centralized method to identify best practices and process efficiencies.
“UNOS’s staff works proactively with organ procurement and transplantation professionals and industry experts to develop and implement innovations toward continuously improving the transplant system,” said UNOS CEO Brian Shepard. ”Grants like this from the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation allow us to help professionals pinpoint needs and explore solutions in parts of the system where we haven’t previously played a role.”
The organ tracking pilot kicked off in late spring this year. This project seeks to improve system-wide processes and prevent the circumstance where an organ is not transplanted due to transportation issues. As a result, the grant from the Foundation honors the gift of life by hopefully saving more lives through organ transplantation.
This partnership is a continuation of the Foundation’s commitment to help the approximately 100,000 patients currently on waitlists for new kidneys. In October 2019, the Foundation announced its partnership with Donate Life America (DLA) to launch a groundbreaking national, universal living donor kidney registry and at-home testing kit to improve access to living donation. In addition, the Foundation supported the National Kidney Foundation’s THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE program to bring in-person workshops to help patients connect with a living donor.
To learn more about the grant from the Fresenius Medical Care Foundation to UNOS, visit www.fmcna.com/foundation.
About Fresenius Medical Care Foundation
The Fresenius Medical Care Foundation's mission is to raise awareness of kidney disease and transplantation as a lifesaving solution. Through partnerships and financial support of innovative programs and solutions, the Foundation aims to change the trajectory of kidney disease for patients and communities. The Foundation was established in 2018 by Fresenius Medical Care North America, the premier healthcare company focused on providing the highest quality integrated care to people with renal and other chronic conditions.
About United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a non-profit, charitable organization that serves as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the federal government. The OPTN helps create and define organ allocation and distribution policies that make the best use of donated organs. This process involves continuously evaluating new advances and discoveries so policies can be adapted to best serve patients waiting for transplants. All transplant programs and organ procurement organizations throughout the country are OPTN members and are obligated to follow the policies the OPTN creates for allocating organs.